You may have noticed – or you may not, and indeed, why should you? – that it’s been a while since I posted anything here. And there have been good reasons for that. Perhaps too many. But the summer was hot, and I was quiet. Books were read, stories drafted, thoughts were thought, and mostly not acted upon. Autumn was harder, but with more of the same. And I got older. And I cut my hair. That last thing is a thing I am incredibly happy about. I know it’s only hair, but still… it’s been more than a decade since I last had such short hair, and it makes me feel sassy, and sophisticated, and possibly other things beginning with s (stylish? silly? saucy? serene?).
Around the same time I discovered a little snippet in the wilds of the internet – oh all right, it was Facebook – a quotation from Carl Gustav Jung:
I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.
It isn’t a cure, it isn’t even a complete answer – to a question that is both unaskable and unanswerable – but it HELPS. So I’m choosing. I don’t pretend to have reached any particular destination on my personal voyage in order to begin the return journey. This is just a way station.
In the meantime, there is Christmas to prepare for, and satsumas to eat (the one I’m eating right now is a bit of a disappointment; too watery and not sharp enough. Perhaps the next one will be better), and words to write and edit, and I still haven’t written the Christmas cards. But my hair looks fabulous.
So here we are; the last hours and minutes before NaNoWriMo begins. For the next thirty days I will be consumed by the words that need to be written. Real life will get from me what needs to be done – Parents’ Evening, the school’s Advent Fair, work, the necessary stuff round the house, and most importantly, my daughter’s birthday – but for the rest, there will be only the words, and the frustration, and the coffee gone cold, and the little piles of satsuma peel, and the midnight forays beneath the stars, staring for inspiration, and finally, the exhilaration. If I’m really lucky, I’ll be flying with the words. That’s the feeling I’m always trying to recover, that flying feeling where the words are unstoppable; the momentum of writing carries both me and the narrative relentlessly onwards through the hours. That’s the feeling I first found about halfway through NaNo back in 2008. I didn’t find it last year, though I tried. It remained elusive, for several reasons, mostly relating to depression. But I’m in a different head-space now. Not where I was in 2008, and most mercifully not where I was last year. And I am excited. I know that at last I will be finishing that which I began back in 2008, the first draft of my first novel, Leaves to the Wind. And fyi? ‘Excited’ is a massive understatement.
Right. I need to read the last couple of chapters from last year’s installment so I can remember where everyone is, and what they’re doing. Why don’t you join me? It’s not too late to sign up…